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The most flexible loyalty programs. 
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Loyalty Blog


Customer loyalty cannot be truly achieved without exceptional customer service. With so many options presented to your customers every day, it’s not enough to offer them sub-par service. If they can’t easily find products on your shelves (or on your website) or receive assistance from your staff, they’ll likely move on to the competition where they receive a better overall shopping experience. While loyalty programs are a great tool to communicate with your customers, provide promotions to increase spending/visits, track customer behavior, and a lot more, loyalty programs alone cannot prevent (or fix) really poor customer experiences. 
 

78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience

-Source: American Express Survey, 2011 

 This could result in an alarming amount of lost business! Is your website easy to navigate so customers can quickly find product details, book an appointment, or check out? If not, you could be causing frustration and losing customers to competitor websites. It’s important to make the sales process simple and convenient both online and in-store.


While you may not require a full-featured loyalty program with all the bells and whistles to run a successful business, you do most certainly need a plan for customer retention. If you have a process to store customer preferences, track customer spending/activity, and communicate personalized and relevant messages then you’re on the right track! If your company is not yet set up to do these things, or if you’re looking for additional activity/promotion tracking, and customer engagement, you may want to consider looking into a loyalty program software for your business. 

The right loyalty program software will allow you to:

- Track customer activity and identify your top spenders
- Identify customer preferences / custom data that is relevant to your businesses
- Review your most successful promotions (what appeals to your target)
- Have the ability to incentivize customers for spending/visiting more
- Allow additional incentives for specific actions (such as referrals) or events
- Provide an easy way for your customers to sign up for your program, and check their balance 

 

 

1. Businesses Don't Promote It. 

One of the most important things merchants don’t do (or don’t do well) is promote their new loyalty program to their customers. You have a great new program, you’ve worked hard to make sure that the rewards would be enticing and exciting for your customers, however they’ll never know about it if you don’t tell them! 

If you don’t have time to develop the point of purchase marketing materials, designate a “program champion” to oversee the loyalty program management. Order some basic promotional materials from your local print shop (or VistaPrint is a great tool) and order a small quantity of signs, banners, window stickers or whatever works in your space. Loyalty Gator offers free table tent cards customized with your own logo that you can place on counter tops (or tables) to create customer awareness in-store. Don’t forget to promote your program on your website and if possible, create a new page dedicated to your customer rewards program. Outline how the program works and highlight the great perks available. Loyalty Gator provides links you can place on your website so customers can easily sign up for your program and check their point balance. Explain the benefits of joining your loyalty program. Will customers receive a free pita after the purchase of 10? Will they get to stand in the VIP express line next time? Could they win a chance to design their own pita to be placed on the menu next month? Ensure your staff is educated about the program and able to promote the benefits to customers in-store.

 

 


Ontario recently passed Bill 47 to ban an expiry of loyalty program points in the province, sparked by backlash from consumers to an expiry deadline for members of Air Miles. The Air Miles reward program launched in 1992 and has more than eleven million Canadian active collector accounts. Saving their Miles for years, many had their hearts set on a luxury dream vacation one day that may otherwise not be possible.

One consumer, 38-year-old Edgar Governo saved up his Miles to go on a trip to Europe however was informed of changes to the program where all points five years or older would now expire at the end of 2016. While the notice was announced in 2011, some members felt they were provided with little or no reminders. Because it would have taken him about another year or two to collect the remaining points needed, Edgar would no longer be able to take the trip to Europe. He did not want to lose the value of his Miles so instead rushed to use approximately 10,000 points for two round-trip tickets and accommodations to Portland, OR just to later learn in November 2016 that the Air Miles program would in fact drop the expiry plan set for the end of the year. Many others like Edgar expressed their anger on social media, wishing that they had not scrambled to use up their Air Miles on items they didn’t really want just to meet the company’s deadline.

 

 

Many loyalty vendors offer a shared rewards network where customers can shop at various retailers across the state/province, or even throughout the country. Customers earn and redeem points at participating merchants. The more retailers that join this type of program, the more attractive it looks to customers. This sounds great but there are some disadvantages to these shared loyalty programs across unlimited retailers where the customer is often loyal to the program, but not to each retailer.

You’re not getting a competitive advantage

You have no control over which merchants participate in the shared loyalty program. If you own a bakery in a small town and share a coalition rewards program with two other bakery shops down the street, what incentive do customers have to visit? They’re going to earn points no matter which bakery they choose so they may not perceive any added value at your location. If there’s no added value, does it make sense to offer a rewards program at all?   

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